Demi Lovato, Diet Culture & Eating Disorders

Anatomy of Addiction Podcast guests, Jenny Selent and Gail Hall – being the change.


Demi Lovato spoke out recently on social media about eating disorders. They have long been open about their personal struggles. Demi said it could be dangerous to comment on a person’s weight, even as a compliment. In the fast-paced world of Instagram stories, the post has likely disappeared from Demi’s feed. But at Sanford, we are still thinking about the impact of Demi’s words. And the value of their outspoken advocacy in a diet crazy, thin-is-in culture.


Demi Lovato Instagram Stories – May 2021


Anatomy of Addiction: Demi Lovato, Diet Culture & Eating Disorders

So, today on the Anatomy of Addiction podcast we talk to the experts about eating disorders. Is it a good idea for a celebrity with a huge following to speak about their personal struggles with an eating disorder? (Answer: yes) And we discuss diet culture, the increase in eating disorders during the pandemic, and the reasons for the age of eating disorder onset getting younger and younger. Social media can be a negative factor as well as a positive. And surveys show that the number one environmental contributor to the development of eating disorders is the social-cultural idealization of thinness.


We’ve long equated thin with being rich, successful and popular… It’s refreshing to have someone like Demi Lovato speak out about this issue. Historically, the Hollywood/beauty/music industry has been notorious for weight bias.

Gail Hall, LMSW, DCSW, CEDS-S, Sanford Executive Director, Eating Disorder Services


There has been an increase in social media use because of less face-to-face interaction (during the pandemic) and more time on a screen. Don’t get me started on how social media has impacted young people and older people. The constant comparison. And the constant exposure to unrealistic expectations in terms of body image…

Jenny Selent, MA, LMFT, Sanford Chief Clinical Director


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Marilyn Spiller is a writer, sober coach, recovery advocate, and student of the world (she also holds a BA in English). Nine years sober herself, she penned one of the first sobriety blogs, "Waking Up the Ghost" in 2013. The blog garnered an international following, allowing Marilyn to communicate with thousands of folks in all stages of recovery. Marilyn is Sanford's Director of Marketing and serves as Editor-In-Chief for the Sanford online magazine, Excursions. She also developed and hosts the podcast Anatomy of Addiction and is Vice President of the Board, JACK Mental Health Advocacy.